Postal Workers Warn of Service Delays Under USPS ‘Consolidation’ Plan

Postal Workers Warn of Service Delays Under USPS ‘Consolidation’ Plan

Monday, July 31, 2006

Sally Davidow


Postal workers are warning customers to expect week-long delays in mail delivery under a Postal Service plan to close parts of mail processing facilities across the nation. Last week, the USPS was forced to reveal a secret list targeting 139 sorting facilities across the nation for consolidation. Before now, the Postal Service had publicly confirmed their intention to consolidate only 50 mail sorting facilities.

The Postal Service’s revelation coincides with the launch of a major advertising campaign by the American Postal Workers Union, representing 300,000 USPS employees. The ad — running in multiple markets across the country — calls on postal management to renounce plans that would degrade mail service by “consolidating” the mail processing and distribution network.

“Our nation’s postal workers want to let the American people know about this stealth attack on our nation’s mail service,” said William Burrus, President of the American Postal Workers Union. “This plan will mean serious disruptions to the mail stream, inconveniencing the citizens and small businesses who rely on timely mail service. Bills will be delivered late, checks will not arrive on time, and prescriptions delivered by mail will be delayed.

Last week, the USPS was forced to disclose the extent of its consolidation plan. Through the Postal Rate Commission process, the USPS was compelled to reveal a list of 139 potential targets across the country.

“It is especially troubling that the USPS has developed these extensive plans without consulting the citizens and small businesses that will be negatively affected,” Burrus said. “It’s one thing for a private enterprise to make business decisions behind closed doors. That is simply unacceptable for a public institution like the Postal Service.”

For many communities, consolidating local mail sorting operations means that their mail will be transported outside the community for sortation before being returned for local delivery. If the plan is put into effect, postal customers will suffer from:

  • Week-long delays in the delivery of mail; 
  • Mail deliveries taking place later in the day — sometimes even in the evening; 
  • Mail collection taking place earlier in the day; 
  • Loss of local postmarks.

The APWU has unveiled a new television commercial, “Falling Apart,” which depicts a disintegrating mailbox to illustrate the negative effects of the USPS plan. The ad, which will run heavily in Washington, DC and affected markets across the country, can be viewed at

The ads are part of a nationwide campaign to expose the plan and mobilize affected citizens to oppose it. In coming weeks, postal workers in a number of affected areas will hold leafleting and press events to raise public awareness of the issue and call on Congress to take action. In addition, a toll free campaign hotline — 1-8-777-Our Mail — is available to provide citizens and community leaders with additional information and let them know how they can get involved.

More than 20 elected federal officials, including Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Joe Lieberman (D-CT), have protested consolidation efforts because affected communities have not been notified or given sufficient opportunity to provide input.

The USPS has failed to present evidence of benefits or savings through the consolidation plans, even though an April 2005 GAO report to Congress found that the USPS consolidation plan lacks “clarity, criteria, and accountability.” (GAO-05-261) In fact, some of the facilities slated for consolidation are more productive than the new sites proposed, according to the Postal Service’s statistics, and earn high marks for service.

For more information about the Postal Service’s consolidation plans or to schedule an interview with a representative of the American Postal Workers Union, contact Sally Davidow at (202) 842-4250.

The APWU is the world’s largest postal union, representing more than 300,000 postal workers in the Clerk, Maintenance and Motor Vehicle crafts.